The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Mary Thirza Osmond Rowe

ROWE, Mary Thirza Osmond

Mary Thirza Osmond Rowe was born on the 22nd of February 1850 in Beaufort, Breconshire, Wales, eldest child of the Rev William Rowe and Thirza Stratton. Rev Rowe was a Primitive Methodist Minister in the Beaufort Ebenezer Chapel, one of several competing churches ministering to the people of the Beaufort Ironworks. Two more daughters, Bessie and Evangeline, were born in 1853 and 1854 and then the family moved to Toronto, Canada, where William was the Chief Executive Officer for the Primitive Methodist Church in Ontario, which prospered under his control. However Evangeline died in November 1854, within months of their arrival in Canada, and life was not easy; apparently William almost froze to death on one occasion while out on circuit. Four more children were born in Canada, though one girl died aged five. The family returned to England in 1872, due to William’s ill-health.

In the 1881 census Mary Thirza appeared in the census as headmistress of the Primitive Methodist Ladies College in Clapham, London. Her father was Governor and Chaplain of the school and two of Mary’s sisters, Bessie and Florence, were among the five teachers. There were twenty-seven pupils living in the house at The Cedars. Florence died in 1882 and Bessie married in 1887, and by 1891 William had retired and Mary was no longer teaching. They were then living in Richmond in Surrey, and the youngest son, Gerald, also a teacher, was living with them.

Mary’s mother, Thirza, died in 1900 and in 1901 and 1911 William and Mary were living alone in Richmond, with two servants. William died in 1914 at the age of eighty-eight and Mary moved to Kew Gardens in Surrey. Meanwhile Bessie’s husband, Thomas Johnson, had been appointed Professor of Botany at University College Dublin and they were living in Dublin with their three children. Mary was presumably visiting them and was returning to England on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October 1918. She did not survive the sinking but her body was recovered and she was buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery.




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